Porsche is going after Tesla in a big way, but not how you might think. The company knows that fast electric cars alone won’t push Tesla out of the game. Part of Tesla’s advantage stems from a Supercharger network that gives drivers the confidence to drive long distances. To that end, Porsche’s North American chief Klaus Zellmer has just revealed that his company is planning to complete a network of 500 fast charging stations in the US by the end of 2019.
About 189 of those stations will reside at dealerships, while the rest will be located along highways. And because Porsche’s system charges the Porsche Mission E to 80% capacity in less than 20 minutes, you might only need a brief pit stop to be on your way. Tesla has had 443 Superchargers in the US as of November 2017.
Zellmer noted that it’s pretty certain these chargers will cost money. Porsche hasn’t sorted out the business model, says Zellmer, but it’s not necessarily locked to a pay-per-charge model. You could have a membership card, for instance, or an all-inclusive package. Dealerships might also offer free charging to attract new customers. In the long run, Porsche is also looking at chargers near the places you’d expect to find Porsches, such as golf courses and hotels. These bonus locations wouldn’t need to have fast charging, though.
Also according to Zellmer, the charger arrays will be expensive to the tune of a six figure cost to dealers, but Porsche isn’t going into this alone as it has three potential partners in mind for building the non-dealership locations including VW’s Electrify America, EVgo and ChargePoint.
This news is a mixed bag for the automotive world. EV charging is already complicated due to a mix of formats and speeds, and this risks creating a future where your choice of car frequently limits where you recharge your EV vehicle. Even so, it’s hard to not get excited about a charging network that soon will offer only fast charging.